Wrestlers hit the mat to take down opioid epidemic

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NASSAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE -

Hundreds of elementary school wrestlers teamed up with police Saturday in a fight against drug abuse and addiction.

The Wrestling Takes Down Drugs program was held at Nassau Community College, where police and county officials say they're trying to raise awareness for the opioid and drug epidemic that's devastating communities on Long Island.

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, originally from Baldwin, says he's trying to relay the message of taking down drugs with children by building self-esteem in young athletes.

“You're just hoping that…when they have that peer pressure, they go back and say ‘No. This is not something I want to do.’ It's not cool to do drugs,” Weidman told News 12.

Police and county officials say they hope this is the first of many new programs that will help children say “no” to drugs and hope to expand it to other sports like baseball, lacrosse and soccer.

“We want them to…be able to handle the problems in life just like they handle the wrestling mat,” says NCPD Commissioner Patrick Ryder. “That's what wrestling does, it helps build that self-esteem.”

 

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